Labour high command urges a three-pronged offensive

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Indy Politics
LABOUR MUST go on the offensive and exploit government weaknesses over the economy and the popularity of John Major, the party's high command resolved yesterday.

Shadow Cabinet members agreed that a three-pronged attack should underline that Kenneth Clarke, the Chancellor, shares responsibility for the pounds 50bn public spending deficit; that VAT, mortgage relief and National Insurance changes would cost the typical family pounds 8.50 a week next year and pounds 12.50 the year after; and that the Government could not be trusted to keep its promises.

The apparent switch of tactics came in the first of a new type of ad hoc shadow cabinet meeting, instituted by John Smith, the party leader, to concentrate on political and campaigning issues. The weekly Wednesday meetings had become bogged down with day to day detail.

The new forum, and the evident upbeat content and mood, is a sign that Mr Smith has taken on board accusations that he has relied too heavily on disaffection with Mr Major and Government policies to hand Labour a majority at the next election.

There had also been complaints that the Parliamentary party lacked an effective campaigning organisation.

The party must make moves to occupy the territory of economic opportunity and optimism, members said.